May women speak

The world's largest technology fair, CES, will open on Monday; this year, due to the coronavirus pandemic, it will not take place in Las Vegas, but exclusively virtual. When you look at the most important speakers, you discover amazing things. This list is usually a collection of fair-skinned men, but this year you will find: General Motors boss Mary Barra, AMD managing director Lisa Su, Best Buy CEO Corie Barry or Adrienne Lofton, who is responsible for marketing in North America at Nike. Exactly half of the 16 keynote speakers are female, and exactly half of these women are not white.

Before those in charge of CES arrange a doctor's appointment, which they need after patting each other on the back (hardly anyone celebrates themselves as much as the tech industry), here are a few other figures: Basically, only 25 percent of the speakers at tech events are women , only 14 percent are dark-skinned. A survey by the non-profit organization Women Who Tech found that 44 percent of company founders have been sexually molested. According to a study by the fintech start-up Carta, women hold just eleven percent of the founding and employee shares in tech start-ups, and only about twelve percent of all investments flow into companies founded by women.

There will be debates about this at CES, one of which is: "Lessons from the executive floor ". However, it is questionable whether the really important question will be asked: Who distributes all the money to company founders and thus determines which idea has a chance of flourishing into a potentially billion-dollar company? The answers are frightening: just 13 percent of investors in the tech industry are female, two thirds of venture capital firms have no female partner. What lessons should management give about women if there is no woman there? ?

"We will not be able to change centuries of systematic oppression overnight."

"We're going to be as aggressive as possible to change this system," said Pam Kostka, head of All Raise. It is a non-profit association of women investors that was founded two years ago and recently raised $ 11 million: "We won't be able to change centuries of stereotypes and systematic oppression overnight, but there is measurable progress." That 13 percent of female investors, for example, was just nine percent two years ago.

"We don't have a pipeline problem," says Kostka, addressing a topic that is debated again and again when it comes to women in the tech industry. To put it simply, it means: There are not enough young women who grow up with the so-called MINT subjects (mathematics, computer science, natural sciences, technology), which means that fewer women are enthusiastic about careers in this industry and corresponding courses and Choose training. There are also trap doors in the pipeline if women feel uncomfortable in male-dominated environments, for example, or if they cannot find their way back into the world of work after starting a family. Kostka says: "I think that this description does not apply - we have a network problem."

The problem, and not just in the tech industry, is that many men hold management positions, and it doesn't matter whether they did it because they are men. They may now promote women and stand up for equality - but they prefer to remain bosses themselves. Few do it like Reddit founder (and, by the way, husband of tennis player Serena Williams) Alexis Ohanian, who will take up his post on the board in June gave up on the social networking site he founded and called for a black successor to be found for him. It became the African American Michael Seibel.

All Raise has been trying to change the mind of the fish for a good two and a half years, and this also applies to events like the CES, for example. There is the All Raise Visionary Voices database, which now includes more than 1000 women who have something to say about the significant topics and trends in the tech industry. There is now an all-raise network of more than 20,000 women. The non-profit company has long outgrown Silicon Valley and has branches in Boston, Los Angeles and New York. The network has grown in its first two years with a good 1,100 venture capitalists and more than $ 300 billion in assets under management.

Women should increasingly become investors themselves

The big goal: to place women at the nodes of this network. That is why there are not only courses and mentoring programs for female founders, but also VC cohorts: The initiative aims to help women become investors themselves and thus get to the interfaces that are important for the success of a startup: where the decision is made it is decided whether female founders are supported.

"You can no longer just look at the numbers and pretend everything is fine," said Aileen Lee, one of the initiators of All Raise New York Times. She is the founder of the venture capitalist Cowboy Ventures and is considered to be the inventor of the term "unicorn" for particularly valuable companies. She was on the magazine's list in 2019 Time with the 100 most influential people and says: "Something is happening, even if we still have a long way to go."

All Raise has already set a milestone after the number of female investors rose to 13 percent within two years: in 2028 it should be at least 18 percent, and no one should be surprised when tech- Events can be found at least as many women as men.